6 Steps to Recovering from a Workplace Meltdown

Carla Gomilla
Carla Gomilla

At work late February last year, I lost it.

Our system to track the stages of our services was still in its infancy. (And boy, do we have a lot of services!) I was working with someone who was challenging to communicate with, no matter how persistent I was. So, I had no idea what happened to the deliverables I produced.

I had hand surgery about two months prior. A cousin passed away suddenly. I had just come to terms with my unhealthy romantic relationships. I was in a rut, trying to figure out what I wanted in life.

So, when our biggest client asked to implement changes in our system that my coworker ignored 3 months before, I lost it. Publicly. Very publicly. It was the worst meltdown of my professional career.

I tried my best to think through the process, while simultaneously explaining what I needed to move as quickly as possible. It didn't work. I felt like I was trying to swim to get a desperately needed breath of air at above water, but I just kept sinking. It was not my finest hour, but when one completely loses it, it usually isn't.

So, why am I still at the same company over a year after that incident?

I have been working at Leadership for over 5 years. When I first walked through the doors, a palpable energy rushed through me. I knew I belonged here. “I’ll wash the windows and answer the phones,” I said. Little did I know that arriving at Leadership wasn’t the end of my journey. Getting to Leadership propelled me forward on the journey I had already been on.

The services we provide from boardrooms to classrooms are not only for our clients. With internal initiatives and professional development, we are challenged to practice what we preach in the workplace and, ultimately, in life: CONTRIBUTE TO POSITIVE CHANGEIt is up to each of us to take on that challenge. I believed I was up for it, but I really had no idea the journey I was embarking on. I learned about my strengths, weaknesses, who I am as an individual, and who I am in relation to the whole. With time, a lot of processing, and an open heart, I learned to accept all of it—in my professional and personal life, because the two are not mutually exclusive. Our leaders recognize each person here as human capital and they are willing to invest in us: develop our strengths, nurture the things that we are interested in, seek ways to engage us, sometimes let us go when it is time, and forgive us when we mess up.

So, how did I find it again? To grow, you have to recognize it, learn from it, move past it, and apply all that you learned into the rest of your life.

How do you do that?

  • REFLECT. Think about what happened that led to that moment.
  • (W)RITE IT DOWN. Our memories are skewed. Immediately write down what happened moment-to-moment from your perspective.
  • REVIEW. Talk to eyewitnesses about what transpired from their perspective.
  • REACH OUT. Talk to the persons directly involved in that moment or affected by it. Talk about what happened to you. Listen to what they were going through.
  • RESOLUTION. How do you want to move forward from that moment? What actions will you practice frequently to help prevent that moment from repeating itself?
  • REMEMBER & RELEASE. Don't forget that moment happened, but do forgive yourself so you can move forward.

Life happens. What you do with it is what counts.

Have you ever lost it at work? Not sure about my six Rs? Tell me about your journey in the comments below—I’d love to hear about your successes, help you through the rough patches, and answer any questions you may have.


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Carla Gomilla

By Carla Gomilla